Brand Identity, Signage & Environmental Graphics

Brand refresh, messaging and environmental graphics for a ‘luxury fast-food’ restaurant in London’s Chinatown district.

ICHIBUNS is a Japanese ‘luxury fast-food’ restaurant in London’s Chinatown district. The brainchild of Robin Leigh, founder of BondSt, ICHIBUNS channels the creativity, music and culture that blossomed during Japan’s post-war ‘Shōwa Era’ renaissance.

The restaurant’s eclectic interior was designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Tokyo’s Studio Glitt, the design force behind London restaurant group Roka and Zuma.

“Entering Ichibuns, a pun on the Japanese term for ‘number one’, is a little like stumbling into a hallucinogenic Japanese version of Alice in Wonderland.” – Wallpaper*

Building on the original identity by Spinach Design, Pentagram has refreshed the visuals, messaging, website, and environmental graphics for ICHIBUNS. Like the restaurant, the new brand encapsulates the raw energy and excitement of the rockabilly-meets-diner culture that kicked and screamed its way out of post-WWII Japan.

At first glance, ICHIBUNS may appear to be a Japanese import. However, it is an innovative hybrid concept that takes inspiration from a myriad of places. To define the restaurant's unique offering, Pentagram developed new brand positioning for ICHIBUNS: ‘exceptional Japanese soul food delivered with KAPOW’. This was translated into a succinct yet evocative strapline ‘Japanese Super-Diner!’, which has been applied across the identity. 

While the restaurant’s larger-than-life aesthetic attracted a lot of curiosity from passers-by, it was difficult to discern the food offering. Pentagram’s identity refresh establishes a cohesive structure among all of the madness. The new branding strikes a balance between playful and clear, it contributes to the restaurant’s character while allowing ICHIBUNS to convey its proposition to new customers.

Original Shōwa period imagery has been used to create a patchwork aesthetic that acts a kit of parts for applications ranging from menus to environmental graphics. Pentagram designed a series of icons depicting elements that are associated with both the preparation of meals and the customer-experience. They provide a sense of familiarity and intuitiveness to the new concept.

Angus Hyland
Project team
Rhian Edwards
Alice Murray
Charlotte Retief
Arthur Stovell
Marissa Pinana
Amy Duffy
James Brown
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